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Projects designed to prevent the central city from clogging up when the new Dunedin Hospital is built are up for debate at the Dunedin City Council next week and they are touted as having benefits for cyclists, pedestrians, public transport and the overall network.
However, many people who made submissions about the council’s draft 10-year plan made it plain they were more interested in the council providing increased parking in the central city for motorists.
The city council did not actively seek comment about the adequacy of parking in the central city, but about 170 people offered the view the city should be easy to navigate by car and it needed more parking spaces.
Thirty submitters opposed that.
Fifty-eight comments were about cycling facilities not being necessary, as they were not used or took up too much space.
The council received 214 comments that supported being ambitious about making the transport system a more sustainable one promoting walking, cycling and public transport.
It received 32 comments in opposition to that.
Transport is frequently a subject of heated debate at the council.
Councillors have tended to clash about car parks, and a proposed upgrade in George St has been accompanied by suspicion councillors did not listen to the views of significant sectors of the public.
The plan to build the new hospital in the central city, for which the amount of parking needed has not been determined, added another layer of intensity.
A series of transport projects was included in the council’s draft 10-year plan to offset the impact of the hospital being built.
They were efficiency improvements on a harbour arterial route ($16.6 million), a parking management and guidance system ($9.5 million), a bus priority route and corridor safety plan in Princes St ($6.6 million), safety improvements for cyclists and pedestrians in the central city ($6.6 million), park and ride facilities at Mosgiel and Burnside ($10.3 million) and bike hubs ($2.5 million).
Cr Jim O’Malley has argued the projects should be seen as a package.
Cr Lee Vandervis has decried the package as anti-motorist and Cr Jules Radich has argued for a parking building in St Andrew St.
Largely missing from discussions in recent months has been the notion the city could provide both more car parks and improved environments for walking and cycling.
Public feedback on the council’s proposed transport package was generally warmly positive.
However, a majority of submissions about Princes St were opposed to the measures proposed there.
The series of changes is part of a broader proposed package also being considered by the Otago Regional Council and NZ Transport Agency.
The organisations have generally presented a united front in promoting the work, although the transport agency has not indicated urgency in getting on with some of its share, such as investing in improvements in State Highway 1 near the hospital.